Daily Reflection
December 15th, 2001
Tom Shanahan, S.J.
University Relations and the Theology Department
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11
Psalms 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19
Matthew 17:10-13

There are some real Advent themes in today’s readings, as there should be smack in the middle of Advent.  Advent affords us the opportunity for looking forward in anticipation of God’s wonderful promises. 

We are reminded today that the Prophet Elijah, who is associated in the Hebrew Scriptures with the end times, has, in the Christian perspective, already come.  The Gospel of Matthew features a dialogue between Jesus and the disciples on the subject.

The dialogue is about what the Scribes say regarding Elijah.  The disciples ask why the scribes say that “Elijah must come first.”  Jesus answers them that indeed Elijah must come first before the “end times” but that he had already come.  Then they understood that Jesus was referring to John the Baptizer.

So Jesus is actually re-interpreting to the disciples the Hebrew Scriptures to refer to Himself.  Yes, the “end times” are already here in the person of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.  And John has already heralded His coming (as Elijah is a herald for the end times).  The Christian Paschal Mystery (death/resurrection) is ion fact the fulfillment of the Prophets’ words from the Hebrew Bible.

Jesus is telling us, then, that the reality of our final salvation has already come to pass for us.  He has saved us as the Son of God.  What a blessing that is for us! -- We are already the inheritors of the promise of God.

That truth demands of me that I live my life in gratitude to a Good and Loving God.  It asks me to receive the promise of Jesus’ Paschal Mystery as it continues to touch into my life – that I join with Christ in the ongoing process of conversion for me and for others whom I am privileged to know.

Lord, God, I pray that I understand what the wonders of the mystery of your love means for me.  Help me to receive it well and to serve it well in others.


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